Coventry Music Museum – Should Musicians Make Political Statements?

The Coventry Music Museum (CMM) is a permanent independent museum that showcases Coventry’s rich musical heritage. The museum takes visitors on a musical journey – from the 50’s rock ‘n’ roll era to the 60’s beat scene. Amongst its vast collection is a cabinet dedicated to the band The Specials. The Specials, also known as The Special AKA, are an English 2 Tone and ska revival band from Coventry. In the late ’70s and early ’80s they pioneered the new British ska sound and racked up seven Top 10 hits whilst exerting an influence on the fledgling genre that is beyond measure. Though their music combined a “danceable ska and rocksteady beat”, they were known lyrically for a “more focused and informed political and social stance”. 1981 saw Britain in a state of crisis – the government was unpopular, unemployment was rampant and riots were breaking out across the country. With the country disgruntled, The Specials released their doom-laden, highly political single, Ghost Town – which projected the thoughts of the British population:

 

“This town, is coming like a ghost town
Why must the youth fight against themselves?
Government leaving the youth on the shelf
This place, is coming like a ghost town
No job to be found in this country
Can’t go on no more
The people getting angry”

 

Like The Specials, many musicians use their platform to vocalise (no pun intended) their political views. Recent news saw Stormzy demand an explanation from Theresa May concerning the lack of support for Grenfell residents after the Grenfell Tower Fire in 2017. Whilst some say musicians should stay in their lane, Pete Chambers founder of The Coventry Music Museum disagrees. Check out our discussion below, where we talk music, politics and more:

Or,  listen to our 3 minute interview here:  

 Monique Boreland.

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